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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Russians Look At Weapons To Combat Gangs

Compiled From Wire Services

Just past mannequins in camouflage, bulletproof jumpsuits, a group of Russian men gazed admiringly at a display of automatic rifles. Around a corner, an exhibitor took an ax to a pane of security glass, sending small pieces skittering across the floor.

In the battle between Russia’s criminal gangs and authorities, the criminals so far have seemed to have the upper hand. So on Tuesday, Moscow law enforcement and several companies put their best weapons on display.

Under the broad theme of “‘Security ‘97,” vendors peddled everything from handguns and gas masks to personal bodyguards and the latest computersecurity systems. Others simply displayed their armored vehicles for the enjoyment of onlookers at Moscow’s most prestigious exhibition hall.

Lydia Yevseyevna promoted a plastic hazardous materials mask with a mouthpiece, hose and filter that she said could be used in any home.

“Of course, regular people can use this, too,” she said. “Say there is a fire in your apartment. A person could put this on and put out the fire. This is for individuals, too.”

Crime has escalated since the fall of the Soviet Union six years ago. And while violent crimes have declined since 1995, the fear remains.

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